Feb 12, 2020 - Technology

Android founder's next phone company goes bust

Andy Rubin. Photo by Brian Ach/Getty Images for Wired

Essential, a mobile phone maker founded by Andy Rubin, announced on Wednesday that it will shut down.

Why it matters: Rubin co-founded Android, the mobile phone operating system that Google acquired in 2005, where he remained to oversee Android before moving on to head up the company's robotics unit.

Background: Rubin left Google in late 2014 with a $90 million exit package following accusations of sexual misconduct that weren't revealed until years later.

  • Essential released its debut product in 2017, after raising $330 million from investors like Amazon and Tencent, but it never gained much market traction.

In a statement, Essential said:

"Our vision was to invent a mobile computing paradigm that more seamlessly integrated with people’s lifestyle needs. Despite our best efforts, we’ve now taken Gem as far as we can and regrettably have no clear path to deliver it to customers. Given this, we have made the difficult decision to cease operations and shutdown Essential."

The bottom line: It’s hard to stand out making smartphones, even if you are the father of Android.

Go deeper: Axios coverage of Essential

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Photo illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios. Photo via The Washington Post.

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